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Compr Psychiatry. 2006 Nov-Dec;47(6):463-7. Epub 2006 Apr 21.

Social anxiety disorder in 300 patients hospitalized for alcoholism in Brazil: high prevalence and undertreatment.

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Department of Psychiatry and Forensic Medicine, Fundação Faculdade Federal de Ciências Médicas de Porto Alegre, Porto Alegre CEP: 90050-170- Brazil.



Although the frequency of social phobia is high among alcoholic patients, this anxiety disorder is often neglected because treatment tends to be focused exclusively on alcohol dependence.


A total of 300 hospitalized alcoholic patients were interviewed using Structured Clinical Interview for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition and Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale as well a questionnaire to check the use of medication for social phobia among alcoholics and the relationship between social phobia and alcohol use.


A prevalence of 30.6% was found for specific phobia, 24.7% for social phobia, 22.2% for anxiety disorder induced by alcohol, 19.3% for generalized anxiety disorder, 5% for obsessive-compulsive disorder, 4.6% for posttraumatic stress disorder, and 2% for panic disorder with agoraphobia. Social phobia preceded alcohol dependence in 90.2% of the patients. The frequency of the use of medication for social phobia among social phobic alcoholics was 20.3%.


The study confirms the high prevalence of anxiety disorders among alcoholics, particularly of social phobia. It also suggests that social phobia precedes alcohol dependence but shows that the use of medication for social phobia is still infrequent. Further studies are required to check if the failure to identify this comorbidity can make the recovery of alcoholics even more difficult.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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